A few months ago I received a message on Instagram which sort of stopped me in my tracks-an offer to work with me to create something to help fundraise for Tommy’s in Gabriel’s memory.

I was taken aback. The kindness of someone who I had never met, someone who had read part of my story and had been touched by it to extend a hand of kindness to help keep the memory of my little boy was something which means so much to me.

Over the last few months, as Rebecca (over at Proper Post) and I have planned the design and creation of Gabriel’s Little Button and gift cards, she has become a friend. We talk nearly every day about one thing or another and have spent months making sure that Gabriel’s pin is perfect. I would never have been able to create our little pin by myself; Rebecca is full of knowledge about so many things and has been a support to me in so many ways. She is an amazing lady and her kindness is something which will always stay with me.

Not only does Rebecca have a heart of gold, she is soooo practical, she gets shit done! I admire her so much, she seems to always have a new project on the go and keeps all her plates spinning-whilst I just about am able to keep up with the dirty dishes in my sink. So when she offered to help me with #GabrielsGift and dedicate so much of her time to sorting all the logistics of turning my design into something tangible, I couldn’t thank her enough. (I think I probably punctuated most messages with ‘Thank you’-words just didn’t seem to say how much I appreciate everything she was doing.)

I knew almost straight away that the design for Gabriel’s pin would be something to do with a button. One of the first things I noticed about my little boy was his perfect little nose. It was as cute as a button, the true definition of a button nose.

A button also keeps things close and would be a reminder that my little boy is always close, he is always there, as well as a reminder that, like a button, I will be able to keep things together. I hoped that it could also offer the same sentiments to anyone else who might need it.

I started planning some designs and sent the design which I would like to use over to Rebecca. With the help of Nutmeg and Alro, the design was finalised and sent off to be made.

The first design

I then set about creating the backing card for the little pin, using doodles which I often use to fill many of the doodles I create over at Doodle Pop!

Doodle Pop! has been something which has brought me a lot of strength and comfort over the last few months. Having a creative outlet to focus on when things have been difficult has helped me. I have been able to fundraise for different charities and am slowly working towards getting Little Lockets off the ground. To know that every doodle I create helps to support someone else (whether that is a donation to a charity or something which helps to remember a special baby, time or occasions) and all in memory of Gabriel, is such a special thing for me.

When I set about creating the backing card, I wanted to use something which linked to all the doodles which I have created over the last few months.

The design for the backing card went through a few stages before I got it right-Rebecca was very patient with me and spent so long ensuring that it was just right.

          

And after a bit of tweaking and some Illustrator magic, the final backing card design was sent off to be made.

Early last month, everything came together, the pins arrived the backing cards were ready and Rebecca and her beautiful family pinned each button to it’s card, ready to send me some before it was almost time to launch them on Instagram.

The night before we launched, Rebecca and I were messaging, full of excitement and nerves-hoping that they would be a success and as much money for Tommy’s Baby Charity could be raised and the 100 pins we had made would make their way around the country, helping to keep the memory of my little boy alive.

I couldn’t have imagined the success!

All morning my phone was ‘dinging’ as more orders came in; amazing women on Instagram shared them on their stories and the number of sales just kept going up. By the end of the day, Rebecca and I had to change our listings to pre orders as we just didn’t have enough to fulfil the number of requests for Gabriel’s little pin. By the end of the day, and the realisation of just what had happened became quite overwhelming.

I received so many messages of support throughout the day, messages to say their pins would be worn proudly and my little Gabriel would be thought of. As I wrote the addresses on the envelopes it was incredible to think that they would be travelling all over the country and one overseas to Germany; my little boy’s memory was continuing to grow and whilst his story is never how I imagined or hoped it would be, he does have such an amazing story. One where he touches lives, is thought of by people all over the world and because of him amazing charities are able to offer support to others.

Since the launch of Gabriel’s Little Buttons on April 20th, we have gone on to have twice as many more pins made; it’s incredible to think that hundreds of his pins will be worn around the country and possibly from those pins conversations about my Button will be had. His name will be spoken and slowly the silence which still exists around pregnancy and baby loss will be broken.

I am so incredibly proud of my Gabriel, I am so proud to be the mummy to such a special little boy who is making things happen to help others. From his hundreds of pins, hundreds of pounds have been raised for Tommy’s. This fills my heart with so much pride.

To know that from the kindness of others for my little boy, his memory will live on is incredible and something I never imagined might happen when I first posted about Gabriel’s birth on Instagram.

I can’t wait to see more photos of his Little Button pins pop up as more pins are sent out over the next month-each one makes me smile and is a small part of Gabriel’s story, his gift to others.

 

Preorders of Gabriel’s Little Button can be made here.

 

 

A few months ago I put an offer in on a house. It was the first house I’d viewed in a long time (my previous house viewing experiences haven’t been great; one involved just poking my head round the corner of one of the bedroom doors as there was someone asleep in the bed!)

Some may say it was a bit hasty to make an offer on the first property I viewed but over the years I have looked at many online and gone to visit a fair few. I had a checklist of things I wanted from a house and this one ticked them all, and some. I could have either spent another few months looking at more houses and not finding what I wanted, or make an offer on a house with everything I wanted…so I did. Eeeek!

The offer was accepted and now I’m at the stage of solicitors doing their searches. I’m not entirely sure what they are searching for but I hope they find it soon as I am desperate to get in there and start making it our home.

Every room needs something doing to it…it is a bit of a project-maybe more than a bit– but it’s nothing I can’t find inspiration from Pinterest for, and then my builder make happen. I’m also planning on doing some of the work myself but nothing which involves heavy machinery or could go disastrously wrong. I hope.

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In the last few weeks there has been quite a bit circulating about ads on Instagram, from the extremes of the Mum’s Net lynch mob to post, blogs and live stories about how to make it work for you.

The way I see it, I wouldn’t browse the magazine aisle and pick up a fishing magazine. I have no interest in that. However, put a copy of Style at Home in front of me and I may well be tempted and as I flicked through it I would expect to see adverts for different products. Just because they are in there, doesn’t mean I would feel as though I needed to buy them; but if a lamp, rug, basket (love a basket) caught my eye and I wanted to buy it, then maybe I would. I see Instagram ads in pretty much the same way; I follow accounts I have an interest in, whether that’s because I love their stories, they help to reassure me that I am not the only one battling a threenager, or maybe they have amazing homes and they offer some inspiration. If they happen to post an ad for something maybe I will like it and buy it, maybe I’ll just scroll by.

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This week several things have happened which have prompted this post. Early this week, I received a message on Instagram- tragically a lady’s friend had lost her precious little babies in the second trimester. In her message she asked me how she could help her friend.

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Today was the first time I cried in public, to a complete stranger. And what brought it on? Coffee!

Yesterday I was in Sainsbury’s and I walked passed the baby aisle and was overcome with sadness. My eyes welled up, my heart raced and I couldn’t get out of there quickly enough. So quick that I picked up the wrong coffee for the coffee machine and it wasn’t until I got home, opened the box and saw the pods that I realised what I had done.

Today I went to return them and exchange them for the correct ones and the man on the customer services desk said he couldn’t take them back because they were opened. Well, that was all it took.

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**I wrote this post on my Blogger account when I was pregnant with Gabriel; I was going to edit it but I like that it is a little part of my pregnancy with him so have left it as it was. This was such an easy thing to make-if I can make it (someone who once flooded the kitchen whilst trying to ‘fix’ the washing machine or put water based grout on a water damaged worktop hoping it might solve the problem by having tiles on it, don’t ask-I thought it was a good idea at the time) then anyone can do it. I still have Gabriel’s play gym , I’m not sure what I’ll use it for but it’s something I will keep and find a home for when we move into our new house in the near future. I thought I’d share it here so if any of you lovely lot wanted to make one, it’s here for you to read and it’s also part of my little one’s story so why not have it here too.**

 

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the things which I needed to get to be prepared for the arrival of my little one. I really do not want to go crazy and buy lots of things which I know will be used for a fleeting moment, if at all, and then put in a cupboard.

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I’ve been on Instagram for quite a few year, sharing little square of things which make me happy, crafty makes, corners of my home, the odd cocktail shot when I have a night out and of course my little ones (and every now and again a picture of my big son when he doesn’t know I’ve snapped it).

For a long time I just used it as a place to keep memories all together and every now and again I would scroll through my own profile and smile at different pictures which evoked memories of happy times. (I’m not sure if you are meant to admit to stalking your own Instagram profile, but I’ve put it out there!)

More recently, I have discovered another side of the little app-one which has totally overwhelmed me on occasions, and on many occasions has brought tears to my eyes and given me comfort and strength. And most of the time, from people who I have never met and maybe never will.

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